Thursday, May 21, 2009

9th Annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference Held

"Sustainable Urbanism" is one of the messages that came out of the 9th annual southwestern Pennsylvania smart growth conference. Civic leaders and community planners were part of a large group of people who were looking for ways to spur sustainable building projects. Keynote speaker and author of "sustainable urbanism" Douglas Farr says before sustainable projects can be achieved local zoning ordinances need to be updated. Different ordinances are controlled or regulated by multiple entities. Farr said to achieve the changes in zoning laws that lead to sustainable neighborhoods you need to have elected officials who are passionate about sustainability, non-profits or community groups that support the elected official and private enterprise. An example of zoning laws that run counter to sustainability is that some neighborhoods require a certain amount of off street parking. Farr said that by requiring extra parking spaces the walkability of a neighborhood or business district is not considered. Farr advocated for sustainable neighborhoods because he says they have an enduring value and offer a higher quality of life.

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